Thursday, March 23, 2023

My 8th Survivor Anniversary

I began my day by reading Robin Williams quotes. I remembered one that always resonated with me, looked it up, and ended up reading a long list of his quotes. It was a good use of my time.

The quote that prompted the search:

"I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy.
Because they know what it feels like to feel absolutely worthless
and they don't want anybody else to feel like that."

The quotes that kept me reading:

"There’s a world out there. Open a window, and it’s there."

"The human spirit is more powerful than any drug and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendshipfamily. These are the things that matter."

"Sometimes you can have a whole lifetime in a day
and never notice that this is as beautiful as it gets."

So, anyway, today is my 8th survivor anniversary. Eight years ago today my last IVF failed and I knew I was done trying to conceive. I couldn't do it anymore. 

Here is last year's survivor anniversary post. 
And here is where you can find the links to previous survivor anniversary posts.

And now it's 8 years later. I don't have kids. I went back to school. I left where I'd lived for 25 years. I got divorced. I learned how to quilt. I started working in a new profession that I love. I moved a bunch of times. I bought a house. I went back to school again. 

It is okay now. (I wrote about that in my last post.) Still, I had a deep cry for about ten minutes yesterday. If I do not give in and feel it, it will persist for days. So, I went with it and felt it all. And it felt awful. And then it passed. Those feelings did not stay with me for the rest of the day. 

Because of my emotional acknowledgment and release, I was able to be creative yesterday evening. I went to a workshop on Saturday and learned about sashiko (Japanese slow stitching). Then last night I made a cute drawstring bag with my sashiko patches. I might have discovered a new obsession... I might want to make lots and lots of bags with sashiko patches now... :)

I made no plans for today. I slept in a little and enjoyed my coffee and blog reading. I need to go grocery shopping. I'm motivating myself by telling myself I can browse the fabric section for bag supplies. Later today I will spend a couple of hours working on the revisions for my Institutional Review Board (IRB) application for my proposed research study. I wouldn't be able to do academic work on behalf of women who are childless not-by-choice if I hadn't gone through everything I've been through. I'm grateful for the opportunity to conduct a pilot study.

So it's a good day. It's a good life. It's been extremely hard, but it's been worth it.

You can buy the pattern online for $6 here. 

It is designed to be handsewn, but I used my sewing machine. I also added a layer of batting to the exterior panel before attaching the lining to give the bag more shape. 

My sisters don't want a quilt, so I think I will sew these for them to use as make-up bags. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

It's Okay Now

I accidentally revealed my status as childless not-by-choice at work the other day. 

Wait. I just went to erase "at work" and change it to "at one of my jobs" and just realized I've disclosed my infertility at BOTH of my jobs. Ha!!! You'd think something like that would be at the forefront of my memory. 

Ok, the first time (the one I'm just now remembering) is actually kind of major. A co-worker and I were talking about how we want to get married when she shared that she wants kids and had her eggs frozen. I said, "Oh! Really?" because nobody ever talks about that stuff casually. So then I told her that if she uses them and goes through that process I can be a support for her. I even told her, "I did IVF a couple of times so I know the whole process. You don't ever have to be positive with me. You are always allowed to complain." 


I can't believe I forgot about having such a personal conversation at work.

Ok, the second time it happened was why I started writing this post. So, back to my first sentence... I accidentally revealed my status as childless not-by-choice at work the other day. I don't even remember what we were saying really, something about kids and parents, when (without even thinking about it) I off-handedly said, "Yeah, well, I can't have kids." It was out of my mouth before I even realized the thought was in my head.

My single, 30-year old co-worker immediately stopped and was speechless for a moment. Then she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry."

I replied, "It's okay." And there was another brief moment of silence.

I added, "Thank you for saying that. I don't say 'it's okay' dismissively. For a long time, it definitely wasn't okay at all. But it's okay now."

It's okay now.

That's the truth.

It is okay now.

But I never thought it would be.

Friday, March 10, 2023

March Again

March is transformative. The season goes from winter to spring. And for me, back in 2015, I went from trying to conceive to contemplating what a life without my children might look like. 

I haven't written until now this month because I've been working hard to meet a deadline for my proposed research project. It's interesting reading about involuntary childlessness in academic journals. It's really interesting that the majority of the research I've found has been published in the last couple of years. 

I think about how, this time last year, I didn't have my jobs and I wasn't back in school. I was wrapping up my three-month, self-imposed sabbatical after quitting what ended up being the worst job ever. (And the job before that had its own concerns! So that's saying something.)

I also think about how my Survivor Anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. Has it really been eight years since my last failed IVF? That sounds so long ago...

Something is going on with me. I'm just not thinking straight. I saw an unfamiliar charge on my checking account this afternoon and called my bank attempting to file a claim on the fraudulent charge. Except it wasn't a charge. It was a credit. From my employer. It was my paycheck. 

[insert facepalm]

But hey, instead of losing money, I earned some money. And it was't fraudulent at all! So I'm glad it worked out like that instead of the other way around.

But on a more serious note? I need to notice that my brain is overloaded and give myself grace. Do a little less. Get more sleep. Breathe slowly and deeply. Eat. You know, all the basics.

It's good! I love my jobs. I love school. I'm very grateful. 

I also think changes are on the horizon. 

I suppose they always are... :)

Artist: Travis Parr, art work available here.